Since its inception by the United Nations (UN) on July 18, 2009, the Nelson Mandela Day Initiative is celebrated and enjoyed with global support as a day to commemorate the lifetime of service that Nelson Mandela gave to South Africa and the world.
“The purpose of freedom is to create it for others.”
– Nelson Mandela
Every year on this day, people across the world are called on to volunteer for 67 minutes within their communities. The 67 minutes is symbolic and refers to the 67 years Mandela gave in service to others. This year, we celebrate the 10th anniversary with a shift in approach and strategy.
Mandela Day: The Next Chapter
The Nelson Mandela Day: The Next Chapter is a sustainable, solution-based initiative. The new Mandela Day strategy encourages collaborative partnerships to support initiatives in the areas of education and literacy, food and nutrition, sanitation, shelter, as well as active citizenship. This approach will also see a sharpened focus on early childhood development as a key investment area to make a significant dent in the scourge of poverty.
Sunil Geness, director Government Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for SAP Africa, reflects: “Having been a long-standing partner for over a decade, SAP Africa is proud to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the International Mandela Day together with the Nelson Mandela Foundation. We are fully supportive of the new strategic direction, which will ultimately lead to our collective ability to reduce societal inequalities. We believe that building long-term, sustainable, cross-sector partnerships is the critical element to helping us achieve this goal across Africa.”
SAP Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Madiba’s Legacy
Let’s take a closer look at what’s taking place on Mandela Day, or Madiba Day, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
SAP employees from Johannesburg are volunteering for 67 minutes with Rays of Hope in Marlboro, a neighborhood within the Alexandra Township in northern Johannesburg. Alexandra is a shanty town, or informal living settlement, and is one of the poorest areas in South Africa. To put it in context, this settlement neighbors Sandton, a wealthy area complete with a polo club, shopping center, and a Manhattan-like urban lifestyle. The M1 motorway road separates the two communities as if someone drew a line in the map to demonstrate the geographic areas of inequality.
Rays of Hope is a section 21 non-profit and public benefit organization (PBO) that manages a large number of social outreach projects in Alexandra. Its ongoing efforts provide support for Alexandra residents, helping individuals and families to improve all aspects of their lives. Since its inception in 1991, the non-profit has grown to a network of seven community-based projects, focusing on education, orphaned and vulnerable children, and work readiness. Together with Rays of Hope, SAP employee efforts will reach thousands within the community.
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived.
It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will
determine the significance of the life we lead.”
– Nelson Mandela
SAP acknowledges the power of volunteering as a catalyst for change by integrating one of our core assets: our employees. The International Nelson Mandela Day is an amazing opportunity for SAP employees to dedicate their time, expertise, and knowledge for the local community, strengthen empathy, and ultimately bring Nelson’s Mandela’s legacy to action.
“No one can solve today’s challenges alone,” acknowledges Alexandra van der Ploeg, global head of SAP CSR. “There is incredible power in partnership and collaboration. SAP is privileged to partner with organizations like Rays of Hope during the International Nelson Mandela Day in our efforts to address digital education around the world.”
Take action. Inspire change. How will you make every day a Mandela Day? Follow #SAPAfrica4MandelaDay and @SAP4Good!
Eva Klingbeil is global program lead for Corporate Volunteering at SAP.